Francisco Lindor #12 of the Mets looks on against the...

Francisco Lindor #12 of the Mets looks on against the San Francisco Giants at Citi Field on Saturday, May 25, 2024 in the Queens borough of New York City. Credit: Jim McIsaac

During what became a key moment for the Mets on Saturday, Francisco Lindor watched a pitch for strike three — after deciding his best chance at a good outcome was to absolutely not swing.

He had a runner on second base with one out in the bottom of the seventh against Giants righthander Randy Rodriguez, freshly into the game. On a 3-and-2 count, Lindor relaxed his body — an indication he was not going to swing the bat — before Rodriguez even let go of the ball.

That slider wound up in the lower outside corner. Lindor struck out. The Mets never scored another run in a 7-2, 10-inning loss.

The problem, Lindor explained, was that “I wasn’t picking up the spin” of Rodriguez’s offering. It was true on the first pitch, a slider in the dirt for ball one, and the second, a slider well outside the zone that Lindor swung at and missed for strike one. After two fastballs also very outside to push the count to 3-and-1, Lindor whiffed at another slider, a would-be ball four, to keep the at-bat going.

So as Rodriguez delivered his sixth pitch, Lindor simply opted out.

“I took that pitch and I got to live with it. I wasn’t picking up his pitches,” he said. “He hadn’t thrown a strike. I made every pitch a strike for him. I was helping him out in a way. I felt like my best bet was to take a pitch. It just so happens it was the one strike he threw in the at-bat.”

 — tim healey

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